“Mama Tiny do you want some stuff?- I know u be helping all of us all the time wit free shit, so let me know, I got shoes, clothes, computers…” Tyler, a 16 year old had been out all night doing what he called “some robin hood-shit” The beautiful-crazy part of this young man’s moves is he and his mama are also currently houseless, so like all of us poor folks, while he is in struggle, he is worrying about other people in struggle.
“Hell yea its liberation, fuk that, its what we have been taught, “ said rob, another youth of color who messaged me on instascam before he went out on Sunday night to “get more shit” I had asked him if he thought his moves right now were an act of revolution or liberation and he was clear, “ Every day we are taught that rich people take and get whatever they want and look the other way when our folks are murdered, “ his voice trailed off as he remembered his own uncle who was shot by poLice when he was 5 years old.
I have witnessed and fiercely supported every single protest move , and the wite supermacists and the paid informants and the revolutionary People of color leaders and the trying to get in the way wite protestors and the respectful, standing up for Black liberation wite people and all the others in between. I have pondered whether to even write this piece as a formerly houseless, very low-income single mama and poverty skola, because as I have often said, our “poverty crimes” need to stay in-house, but then I watched CorpRape media show the same racist stock photos and videos of young Black and Brown men liberating krapitalist stores who have “looted” our poor communities for years with their billion dollar ad campaigns about $300 shoes that cost $2.00 to make because they pay global south workers $.25 an hour, $800 phones, $3000, computers that are built by poisoning Congolese, Chinese, South-Asian children and poor people, cars assembled by computers or under-paid global south workers, requiring credit that none of us poor people ever have access to so we keep driving broke-down hoopties (cars), which gives more excuses to more murderous poLice to stop and frisk, stop and kill for fake Driving While Black and Brown and Poor violations. Not to mention extracted and stolen chocolate and easily accessible poison like vape pens and cigarettes and alcohol and on and on.
And while these stock photos and videos flooded the CorpRape news channels, one after the other, they were accompanied by non-stop voice-overs calling the youth liberators “criminals”, thugs, lawless and “looters” who were single-handedly destroying the fragile krapitalist ekkkonomy which is just barely trying to come back from Covid19.
And then cause thats not enough, a stream of politricksters, poLice and lie-gislators and even a lot of conscious people have been adding to the noise with sweeping statements about “destruction” and violence to stores versus “peaceful protests”.
I know this is a controversial perspective and I know that some of the stores that have been “destroyed” are in communities of color or POC owned like Chinatown in Oakland and beyond. But I also know racism across communities is real too and more than people realize daily anti-black and anti-poor, anti-houseless micro and macro-violence is constant, incessant and amounts to torture and comes from many of these POC owned establishments. Slow, sick torture that grinds peoples psyches down to the end of our breaking points.
Looting versus “property damage”
To get extremely clear, since the beginning of the protests there has been the weird hater klan members setting fires, smashing windows and causing shit - but then there is looting and it is a different move - targets were decided based on the products, accessibility and the poLice terror perpetrated by that place. The youth are very clear that this is not a casual move and again its not something that people who have never missed a meal may ever be able to overstand, so I respectfully ask you to stop judging with the same krapitalist infused gaze.
The other reality is low-income young people of color were already in struggle. The Pandemic called poverty, and the way that Covid19 stole some of the small crumns that were in place all away was complete violence. Schools, closed jobs dried up , non-profit youth centers and programs and spaces, the few that where there are gone. Whats left? What do you think young people have to do? This time has been extremely hard on very low-income young people in a way adults and elders can barely fathom. I only know because POOR Magazine has the blessing of having a large poor youth following and I work with poor youth everyday.
Isolation and sheltering in place when you have no place, no healthy food, no fun, means what ? Means we have little to live for. Rules created by people who use, abuse, incarcerate and hate mean nothing either. Whats the point?
And like Rob said, this is what we have been taught. Looting as anyone knows are colonial created tactics. Launched with the original looting of Turtle Island and then Black and Brown bodies looted so wite supremcists, wealth-hoarders’ buildings and bridges and world could be built and exploited. From this original looting wrapped in a carefully perpetrated PR campaign and re-named “discovery” was then followed up by brutal and murderous genocide that has continued to this day.
Throughout herstory the looting, rape and murder continued, with the looting of Mama Earth, to the looting of our communities when we tried to participate in their violent economic models. From the “gold rush” to Standing Rock, From Black Wall Street to Chinese Exclusion Act, from redlining to gentriFUKation, every attempt of indigenous, poor and people of color to participate in their killer economies is met with some kind of covert or overt violence.
Young people see this and overstand it
And to make it even deeper, the protectors of the wealth-hoarding looters who steal mama earth and call it “real estate speculation” steal our money and call it “mortgages and payday loans, steal our housing and call it foreclosure and eviction and profit and taxes are the poLice,
PoLice or “Lice” on the po’ is a concept I came up with in 1999 after my brother Leroy Moore and I reported on the poLice murder of a houseless, disabled elder from LA Margret Mitchell for nothing but being Black and houseless in LA and which plays itself out in brutal stories like the 2016 poLice murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, killed for being Brown and houseless in gentriFUKation city aka San Francisco
Krapitalism is a violent and brutal system rooted in looting, but the real looters, the real estate snakes, the scamlords and the hoarders are never charged, they are protected. By poLice who kill poor people. So I know that at the end of the day, maybe you don’t agree with me because you don’t agree that krapitalism is an inherently violent system. Maybe you do believe that if you just get your piece of the pie you will be ok. That you don’t agree that Mama Earth needs to be unSold so we can end the perpetration and the eviction and the homelessness tomorrow. That you inherently believe that somehow we all have a chance and all we all need to do is work toward equality and fight for “justice. But maybe you need to examine the reality that while you fight for poor peoples of color justice, you have a home and job to go home to after your day of “protesting”while thousands of young, no-income youth of color have nothing.
I will say to all the people de-crying the “violence” the theft, the ruination of krapitalist stores, are you really defending the system you decry and create strategic plans about overthrowing, changing, and/or resisting ? Are you really working toward our collective liberation? Or does your liberation and mine end at the end of your workday.
And lastly that I need to remind adults right now, that this isn’t your fight. These young people and specifically poor young people need to have their own agency, and maybe you need to move out the way and realize they are inheriting this shit called amerikkklan and tortured Mama Earth. And their tactics are their tactics and its ok if they aren’t your tactics and to recognize sometimes “controlling the moment/movement” is an oxymoron and rather, you could try to respect what this generation has to bring to this moment which isn’t the same as what you brought, but no less powerful.